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Don't mind Randy Chapman if he begins peppering conversations by using words like "thee," "thou" or "milady."

The owner of a Sioux City audio and lighting production business said he's simply practicing his B.F.A.

"B.F.A. stands for 'Best Fair Speech,'" Chapman explained. "It isn't easy to sound like a person from the Renaissance without practicing before hand."

Indeed, his role during River-Cade's 15th annual Kingdom of Riverssance Festival is especially important to the event's pageantry.

As he has for the past several years, Chapman has been assigned the pivotal part of Riverssance's King Pellius.

Um ... King Who-lliius?

"It's OK that you've never heard of Pellius," Chapman said with a royal wave. "He was simply a minor knight in King Arthur's Round Table."

Yet every king needs a queen. In Chapman's case, his wife Stephanie will be playing the part of Lady Morgana, Queen of Riverssance.

According to Chapman, it is Stephanie who serves as a sounding board whenever he switches into Renaissance mode.

"Having a good fair accent doesn't mean you're trying to consciously do an English or a French accent," he reasoned. "Instead, I'm playing a character of a king and Old English terms just happens to roll off of his tongue." 

Chapman's personal interest in Renaissance Fairs actually predate his involvement with Riverssance.

"I grew up in Michigan, where Renaissance Fairs are much more common," he said. "I've been to most of the big ones in the Midwest."

So, for a Riverssance newbie, what's the appeal of Elizabethan peasants and wenches or pirates and scallywags?

"Its all about fantasy and creating an illusion of being in a different time and place," Chapman said. "It's play-acting in that you get to be something that you're not in real life."

Like becoming a king, for instance? Well, if the crown fits, wear it!

"Yeah, it's good to be king," he acknowledged.

In fact, he's become a bit of an authority on the age in which men wore tights.

Chapman has participated in Renaissance workshops and he and his wife sells jewelry and mugs at fairs in which they aren't reenactors.

Still, he likes playing a part at most fairs.

"Everything that I do as King Pellius is improvisation," Chapman said. "But it is different than traditional improv because you can never be out of character because you're never backstage."

Which literally means that Chapman will be king for a day. Well, actually, he'll be a royal for two days. Riverssance will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday at Riverside Park. 

However, he may be taking on the aura of a benevolent king for a bit longer than that.

"People are beginning to recognize me as the King of Riverssance," Chapman said. "I may be standing in line at a grocery store and hear some kid say, 'Hey, that's King Pellius.'"

Needless to say, he doesn't mind it at all.

"I certainly don't mind associating with commoners," Chapman admitted in a regal manor.

Like he said, it's good to be king.


Food and Lifestyles reporter

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